4 NHL FanDuel Studs to Target on 2/18/21

Spending up in any daily fantasy lineup is how to get the superstars and the highest upside players in your lineup. In NHL DFS, it’s different from paying up in sports like NBA or NFL. Someone can be one of the highest-salaried players at his position and put up a total dud of a performance, and paying that much for him would be a huge mistake. Let’s make sure we are paying up in the right spots when building our lineups tonight.

Thursday night brings us nine games on the schedule. Let's dive in.

Auston Matthews, Center, Toronto Maple Leafs

FanDuel Salary: $9,000

Auston Matthews zooms into the $9,000 slot on Thursday night and for good reason. He has 11 goals in his last 10 games and is on a 14-game real-world point streak. The Ottawa Senators show few signs of stopping him from scoring. The Toronto Maple Leafs' center has 5 real-world points, 13 shots, and 11 scoring chances in his last three meetings versus Ottawa.

There are several ways to utilize Matthews in stacks again, including players like Jason Spezza or Joe Thornton along with Morgan Rielly, etc. Plenty of choices exist, and Matthews could also be used as a single play given the nine-game slate.

Also, looking down to Patrice Bergeron is a solid idea, as New Jersey Devils gives up the most shots per 60 at even strength in the league. Do not forget about Anze Kopitar ($7.300), who is enjoying a career renaissance in Los Angeles.

Alex Ovechkin, Wing, Washington Capitals

FanDuel Salary: $8,300

So Alex Ovechkin will face the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. These are two teams that combined for seven goals in their last meeting. Ovechkin did not play in those games due to being on the COVID protocol. He struggled a bit the first two games of the season, as he was a bit out of step -- just five shots and two assists combined with three scoring chances. Do not expect paltry totals tonight.

The Washington Capitals give as good as they get. Honestly, they are just more fun when Ovechkin is on the ice. Overall, they allow 3.57 goals per game but score nearly 3.50 when "The Great Eight" is playing. There is one mitigating factor, and that is Buffalo's ability to avoid the penalty box (5.3 penalty minutes per game -- best in the league). However, at even strength, Buffalo has been dreadful enough and could allow 30 shots at even strength like in three of the previous four meetings.

Elsewhere, look at David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, both of whom enjoy high-scoring potential on Thursday. Finally, Filip Forsberg against Columbus may be a surprise play tonight going against the grain a bit.

Charlie McAvoy, Defenseman, Boston Bruins

FanDuel Salary: $5,500

This features risk, but I'm going to go with Charlie McAvoy. His salary is reasonable, and he produces at the level of a top defenseman. He has the potential to get several shots on net along with blocking several shots. On the season, McAvoy has 11 real-world points already but has just one goal on 26 shots.

The best news is again that floor. McAvoy plays a lot of minutes and will get minutes in all situations due to injury. Playing on the power play against a New Jersey penalty kill that ranks near the bottom should be a boon tonight for a Boston team that could put up 35-plus shots at home.

Of the alternatives, John Carlson has a great matchup against the Sabres and had three games of five-plus shots on goal this season versus Buffalo. Drew Doughty is another possibility tonight, as offensively, he has five real-world points in his last three starts.

Tuukka Rask, Goalie, Boston Bruins

FanDuel Salary: $8,500

Tuukka Rask has played better of late and gets a nice matchup versus New Jersey on Thursday night. Some may be worried about shot volume, but New Jersey did put up nearly 40 shots against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. No one is suggesting they come close to that number but close enough would be beneficial. Rask allowed just a couple of goals in an early-season meeting with the Devils. He has wins in four of his previous six starts and comes off a 38-save effort in defeat where Rask looked to be in peak regular-season form.

Wait to see who else starts when it comes to looking for viable alternatives among the studs. Semyon Varlamov should start for the New York Islanders and the road team has won five of the previous seven clashes between New York and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Chris Wassel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Chris Wassel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username chriswassel. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.